In just a matter of a few months, Instagram will be 10 years since it was first released. Indeed the photo-sharing platform became a sensation back on October 6, 2010. However, things at the moment were a lot different than they are now. As a matter of fact, at the time, Instagram was simply a platform from where one could share photos with friends and family.
Who would’ve thought that years later, that photo-sharing platform would become the second-largest social media site in the world? Well, it did. And that’s why today, we want to go over some of the changes Instagram has had over the span of 10 years.
Of course, it goes without saying that listing every single update and feature the platform has had over that time would make this article endless. So, for now, we will limit this list to 10 changes Instagram had over the past decade.
10Hashtags – 2011
Unlike many new platforms, Instagram didn’t have much trouble growing its user base. As a matter of fact, a week after its launch, the photo-sharing app had already gotten 100k users. Shortly after, (two months to be more accurate), Instagram got its first million active users. Indeed, this was a sign that the site was off to a good start.
Therefore, Instagram founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger started working on making the platform even better. And so in January 2011, a mere month after reaching the one million mark, Instagram added the now-famous hashtags.
You see, at the time of its launch, Instagram was basically a platform from where you could just share photos with your friends and family. However, things changed pretty soon when hashtags were introduced. At this point, we all know that hashtags allow you to find content you like more easily. And adding them to Instagram proved to be an effective tool that changed things forever.
9Instagram Direct – 2013
In 2013, Instagram surprised us with Direct. A new messaging feature designed to allow Instagram users to message each other using the platform. The main purpose of this feature was to compete against some of the biggest messaging services of that time. And well… It worked.
Over time, Direct has evolved enormously. So much so, that Instagram users are now able to send not only photos and videos, but also audio notes, gifs, and much more. In short, we are talking about a messaging tool that offers pretty much the same and even more than that of its competitors.
Finally, there were rumors about Instagram wanting to make Direct an independent app. But, that never happened.
8Instagram Ads – 2015
So, by 2015 Instagram was already owned by Facebook. In fact, the photo-sharing app had been acquired by the blue giant back in 2012. But, it wasn’t until 2015 that the app became a business opportunity for everyone with a desire to grow. You see, Instagram had already been working on its business version.
But, they were still lacking something. And that something was ads. Let’s face it, advertisement is one of the best ways to make money online. And Instagram knew how to profit from that opportunity. They used the platform to allow brands to create 30 seconds ads promoting their services or products. And in return, they made millions of dollars.
The new Instagram ads system also changed over time and of course, they worked hard to improve the service and get to more people willing to use the system.
7Instagram Boomerang – 2015
Instagram launched some major updates in 2015. But not all of them were designed for the business field. As a matter of fact, regular users had the fortune of testing a new standalone app created by Instagram that is still used in 2020. Instagram Boomerang as we all know it, it’s an app that allows users to shoot a one-second burst of five photos, and then turn it into a silent video that plays forwards and reverses in a loop.
We can’t say for sure how many people still use the app. But, what we do know is that ever since it was released, Instagram Boomerang has been downloaded over a hundred million times. If that doesn’t mean success, I don’t know what does.
6Instagram Stories – 2016
The year is 2016. Instagram had already become a sensation among all of us. But, it still had a lot to work on. The ambition to become the second-best social media site in the world made Instagram work on new things that a lot of us would learn to love. And in 2016, they presented Instagram Stories.
There’s no much need to explain what Stories are. But, in the weird remote case that you are clueless about it, here’s a brief explanation. Instagram Stories is a feature created in the year 2016 that allows Instagram users to share moments of their every day lives with all their friends and followers.
Moreover, Stories also became a great option for brands to advertise their products or services. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the endless tools Instagram made available for us to use on Stories. Gifs, Stickers, Music, etc.
What’s funny about this all is that Instagram was actually accused of stealing the Stories format from one of its competitors. Snapchat. You see, the truth is that Snapchat already had Stories on their platform. But, not only that.
They actually also had a version of Direct before Instagram launched its own. Perhaps, we can say Instagram took inspiration from the yellow ghost app and gave us something improved.
5Instagram New Logo – 2016
One of the things that had us recognize Instagram right away was that of its logo. The iconic retro brown and cream camera with a rainbow stripe icon was the one thing we never thought would change. But, we were wrong. In 2016 Instagram opted to change its classic logo to a pink, purple, orange version of it.
Surprisingly, people didn’t really like the change. As a matter of fact, I remember reading an article calling the new logo, “A Travesti icon” or something around those lines. However, time went by and users learned to adapt. So now the colorful logo we all know is what represents Instagram in the present time.
4Instagram Shopping – 2017
With Instagram on the rise, it was just a matter of time until the company found a new way to make money off the platform. And so they invented Shopping. Instagram Shopping had been under development since November 2016. However, it was officially released in March 2017 in a selected number of countries.
The new e-commerce feature was designed to allow brands to sell their products or services through Instagram. And users to buy them with the power of one tap. Fortunately, Shopping then expanded to most countries in the world and it got tons of updated that made the experience of shopping on Instagram way better.
3IGTV – 2018
On June 20, 2018, Instagram launched IGTV. A standalone app created to compete directly with Youtube. One of the most appealing aspects of this new app was that users could watch videos vertically. People in general were allowed to upload 10 min long videos to the platform. And verified creators could upload videos up to 1 hour long.
The app does not let you monetize content as Youtube does. But it’s still a good option when it comes to market your brand. Finally, while IGTV comes integrated within the main Instagram app, the video-sharing platform has been downloaded at least one million times from the PlayStore, and who knows how many more from the App Store.
2One Billion Users – 2018
Currently, Facebook is the number one social media platform in the world. And unless it is shut down by the government, we don’t think there will be any other company that will equal Facebook’s power in one million years. Or perhaps, there could be. You see, Instagram was off to a good start from the very beginning.
As we mentioned when we started this article, it only took one week for the platform to reach its first 100k users. Well, ever since Instagram was bought by Facebook, the site has kept on growing non-stop. And finally, in 2018, Instagram reached its first BILLION mark. One billion monthly active users. Incredible, right? This has made Instagram the second largest social media platform in the world. And probably Facebook’s replacement is such site were ever to disappear.
The news of Instagram reaching a billion monthly active users was announced on the same day that the IGTV app was presented.
1Instagram Removes Likes – 2019
Finally, let’s talk about likes. Instagram likes have been incredibly important for users all over the world. Lots of brands rely on likes to choose influencers that could promote their products. But, there’s more. Instagram likes were always a mean to measure popularity amongst youngsters on Instagram.
Unfortunately, the whole popularity game soon became a problem for Instagram. Since lots of teenagers started to deal with depression due to social media pressure. Things that we adults think are stupid. Instagram was labeled as the saddest app in the world. So, what did they do? Well, they removed the likes from posts. This way, no one would have to suffer bullying for not getting likes when posting a photo.
The whole point of removing the like count from posts was to protect the mental health of users in general. And even though lots of people didn’t like the change too much, Instagram still went on with it. However, this like removal thing only applied to certain countries. So, some of us still get to see how many likes a post has.